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Thread: Balance Suggestion: Variable Point Items?

  1. #1

    Balance Suggestion: Variable Point Items?

    So with all the point buff nerf things, I find it silly that just because items should be priced for their MinMaxed all the time. That said, I don't think it'd be too incredibly difficult to implement a sliding point scale for certain items on certain characters because of exceptional synergy (espeically if 2k could separate all the soldier classes out and give each their own pricing menu). That said, some things I think would be awesome to see so they get more (or less) all-around use:

    Scope: 100 points for Sniper Class. 200 points for all others.
    Combat Stim: 600 points for Assault class. 200 points for all others.

    Ghost Armor: 4200 points for Psionics. 2400 points for all others.
    Archangel Armor: 3600 points for Sniper Class. 1800 points for all others.
    Psi Armor: 2400 for Psionics. 1200 for all others.

    Consider also that I think NanoFiber, Carapace, and Titan should have reduced costs across the board (100, 400, and 1200 respectively) and that points should be brought down to balance things (like every alien except SC, most of the heavy loadouts, and the grenades). About the only thing I think should cost more is Light Plasma because reducing Laser at which point it'd likely be too cheap.

  2. #2
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    I agree with this - it should allow for more variety in the squads = more fun.

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    Ghost breaks on PSI now i dont understand why they increased the price AND fixed the bug..

  4. #4
    I completely agree that this is the best way to balance items & equipment.

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    I disagree with most of the specific examples you gave, but I understand they are just examples of a concept. But I'm not convinced I agree with the concept being worthwhile.

    If implemented, this would still be only one step up a much larger slope. While it would make the system mechanically able to account for specific class-item effects, it would still be unable to account for talent-item synergies (SCOPE gives mathematically greater benefit if your build has Bullet Swarm or Rapid Reaction than if it doesn't), and unit-unit synergies (does having a sniper raise the cost of your sectoids because they're scouting for a more powerful unit?).

    My point is simply that you'll be raising the complexity of the system and not necessarily making the game any better. It's a simple fact that having more variables increases the amount of work to balance a system (there are more values to choose) and also increases the number of places where an item can be mispriced (again, because there are more values). But what would it really add for us to have cheap archangel smokejumpers?

    This could be a huge complexity and work increase for a very small gain in terms of viable squad variety or depth of gameplay.

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    Basically ghost is not good on any unit except maybe Agent and Machinegunner with the psi fix.

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    Quote Originally Posted by amanasleep View Post
    Basically ghost is not good on any unit except maybe Agent and Machinegunner with the psi fix.
    I'll take 20 defense, runspeed, grapple, +5 HP, and 4 charges of attack and overwatch immunity and +100% crit on a lot more units than just Agent and Machinegunner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edgecase View Post
    I'll take 20 defense, runspeed, grapple, +5 HP, and 4 charges of attack and overwatch immunity and +100% crit on a lot more units than just Agent and Machinegunner.
    Excuse me, I should say at current prices. For free ghost should be on every unit.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Edgecase View Post
    But what would it really add for us to have cheap archangel smokejumpers?
    It would be damn fun. Cause let's be honest, if you want to have fun and still win occasionally, you can't really spend more than 1000 points (if that) on things that are not maximum efficiency for your squad. With this there could be some more surprise variables that you will never see otherwise and neat effects like Archangel SJs coming out of nowhere. It's still not super efficient, but I'm willing to spend a 1000 points for the value of surprise, at which point its up to the player's tactical skill to make up the efficiency difference. The 2000 points it normally would be is just too big of a handicap.

    I think this is really the only step we need to take up that slope because of the other mechanical limitation of MP. Maybe 8 mutons benefit alot greater from each other than 4 and should have a cumulative point cost per additional one because of blood call synergy. But you'll never have 8 so it's fine to just price for 4.

    I did in fact consider talent strategies actually but thought THAT would be too much work for the reward. Squadsight/Archangel, Run and Gun/Stim, Mind Control/Mind Shield, Medic/Medkit. But some have a much smaller point waste area (like medkits on non-medics, maybe you're only wasting say, 50 points) so it becomes an easier to deal with strategic call and can just be dealt with in the specific build points for that unit.

    I feel the less complex breakdown just by class shouldn't be too difficult to implement from a coding standpoint. They already have a seperate dropdown menu for each class (Heavy, Assault, etc). What you could do is put them in the basic unit list as such, then copy and paste the basic soldier menu and point options and make each one adjustable. That'd basically be like adding three new units to the unit selection using the system that's already in place.

    I think it'd be worth it just so I can find something surprising again that might actually threaten someone because there is so little variation currrently that is actually a decent threat because of the size of the handicap it imposes. Because honestly, who plays any serious team with Archangel armor that's not on a Sniper? And even if they do, how far does it get them?

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    There's a lot of equipment in the game that's designed for a particular class. AA is Sniper armor, Medikits are for Medics.

    While I like the idea of each Soldier class having their own point scale for equipment, there is so much more that needs to be fixed and so many other things that could be added that would add more to the game. I'd hate to see Firaxis spending time on developing and balancing this at the expense of stuff like new maps, more units, more gametypes, etc.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_angelfire View Post
    It would be damn fun. Cause let's be honest, if you want to have fun and still win occasionally, you can't really spend more than 1000 points (if that) on things that are not maximum efficiency for your squad. With this there could be some more surprise variables that you will never see otherwise and neat effects like Archangel SJs coming out of nowhere.

    ...

    I think it'd be worth it just so I can find something surprising again that might actually threaten someone because there is so little variation currrently that is actually a decent threat because of the size of the handicap it imposes. Because honestly, who plays any serious team with Archangel armor that's not on a Sniper? And even if they do, how far does it get them?
    While variety is all well and good, I think you should expect as a highly experienced player that you simply will not encounter novel viable builds and combinations with any significant frequency anymore. Given that there are only a finite number of unit combinations, this is inevitable. Further innovation is going to take place in the realm of tactics and "high level play" on-map, rather than pre-game. I have reams of ideas in that domain, but have never had an opportunity to use them, as there's no reason to play mind games when there are so few opponents who even have expectations to exploit in the first place.

    In any case, I'm not arguing that there is NO benefit to this change, but I am saying it seems beyond the point of diminishing returns currently. Right now, the number of prices to balance is (units + items), and this change makes it (units * items). If you have a background in computer or mathematical science, you know what a fundamental change this is. This system would be harder for both new players and developers to manage -- a price in elegance that I'm not sure it makes sense to pay.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Propbuddha View Post
    There's a lot of equipment in the game that's designed for a particular class. AA is Sniper armor, Medikits are for Medics.

    While I like the idea of each Soldier class having their own point scale for equipment, there is so much more that needs to be fixed and so many other things that could be added that would add more to the game. I'd hate to see Firaxis spending time on developing and balancing this at the expense of stuff like new maps, more units, more gametypes, etc.
    Quote for the win!

    While idea in OP isn't exactly bad there are so many obvious things that needs to be fixed first...

  13. #13
    It really doesn't sound like it would be a lot of work to implement this. The results would be an exponential increase in viable unit options built on content that already exists. In my mind the only things more important than implementing this would be fixing bugs, adding more maps & tuning the spawn points on existing maps.

    So in other words this is of high value with minimal cost.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_angelfire View Post
    So with all the point buff nerf things, I find it silly that just because items should be priced for their MinMaxed all the time. That said, I don't think it'd be too incredibly difficult to implement a sliding point scale for certain items on certain characters because of exceptional synergy (espeically if 2k could separate all the soldier classes out and give each their own pricing menu). That said, some things I think would be awesome to see so they get more (or less) all-around use:

    Scope: 100 points for Sniper Class. 200 points for all others.
    Combat Stim: 600 points for Assault class. 200 points for all others.

    Ghost Armor: 4200 points for Psionics. 2400 points for all others.
    Archangel Armor: 3600 points for Sniper Class. 1800 points for all others.
    Psi Armor: 2400 for Psionics. 1200 for all others.

    Consider also that I think NanoFiber, Carapace, and Titan should have reduced costs across the board (100, 400, and 1200 respectively) and that points should be brought down to balance things (like every alien except SC, most of the heavy loadouts, and the grenades). About the only thing I think should cost more is Light Plasma because reducing Laser at which point it'd likely be too cheap.
    Wait, what? Nn...noooo. I don't like this idea at all.

    For one, this becomes waaaay more difficult to actually balance correctly. For two, who gets to decide which items deserve to have cost reduction to which units? With your specific example nobody would put stims on Assaults anymore and you'd see a lot more Stim Heavy builds (which I already see more often than Stim Assault).

    The overall effect of a massive change like this would be wholely unpredictable, and without massive amounts of testing it wouldn't likely result in changes that are good for the meta.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic Rooster View Post
    It really doesn't sound like it would be a lot of work to implement this. The results would be an exponential increase in viable unit options built on content that already exists. In my mind the only things more important than implementing this would be fixing bugs, adding more maps & tuning the spawn points on existing maps.

    So in other words this is of high value with minimal cost.
    I just don't see the "exponential increase in viable unit options" or "high value" in this.

    Will saving 50 points on a medipak really produce mini-medic builds or would you continue to take the universally useful options like SCOPEs and HP buffs?

    Would you actually take Archangel Armor on an Assault and throw away the ability to sneak up under cover?

    Is Ghost Armor really that bad on non-Assault classes? I recall seeing and hearing about Hunters and Machine Gunners using Ghost before the increase and I imagine a Ghost Medic or Imperator would be a good build too.

    I'm not suggesting that there isn't room for more variety, but there is already a lot of variety in Soldier builds and if Firaxis makes some balance tweaks so there are less "no-brainer" cheap choices (increase SCOPEs, LPRs and Chitin, reduce cost of heavies and Grenades, make Armor prices less random, make some interesting non-Soldier choices below 2000 points), there will be a lot more.

  16. #16
    Just so we're clear, noones saying that this should be done instead of fixing bugs and such. To even suggest so is just silly. Compared to the relative time it would take to hunt down, test, adust, and retest for bugs as opposed to a simple 3x Copy-Paste job with maybe a dozen number values adjusted should be child's play. An hour or two of work at best because all the systems are already in place for it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Propbuddha View Post
    Is Ghost Armor really that bad on non-Assault classes? I recall seeing and hearing about Hunters and Machine Gunners using Ghost before the increase and I imagine a Ghost Medic or Imperator would be a good build too.
    That's actually the key point here, noone uses it anymore excpet on Commando, Psi Warrior, and even rarely Machinegunner. Lowering it maybe we could see Ghost Agents or that Ghost Imperator you just mentioned.

    Quote Originally Posted by HardAppleCider View Post
    For one, this becomes waaaay more difficult to actually balance correctly. For two, who gets to decide which items deserve to have cost reduction to which units? With your specific example nobody would put stims on Assaults anymore and you'd see a lot more Stim Heavy builds (which I already see more often than Stim Assault).

    The overall effect of a massive change like this would be wholely unpredictable, and without massive amounts of testing it wouldn't likely result in changes that are good for the meta.
    Open Beta. We're pretty much doing it now. Take a week to figure out. (I'd still run stim gunner at those prices, I just get one less sectoid - oh no!). Get a price adjustment out every 2 weeks. It's what they specifically designed the point system for isn't it? It works for Starcraft 2, and it's hell of a lot easier for us (maybe requiring one patch) and none further, so why not? If it proves to be not good for the meta, we have more ability to rectify it. There is no way it could be worse than what we have now, right? You can literally put it back to the exact same values we already have if after a couple months the community decides "no this failed". This whole game has been an "unpredictable" venture from the start!

    I'm not suggesting we get into the nitty gritty of something like Medkit: 25 points for heavy, 50 for Assault, 75 for rookies, 125 for medic, 250 for psi guardian. Just 5 or 6 specific cases which are clearly oversynergistic regardless of skill level. I don't think 3 medkit uses over 1 is really that game breaking or something you can't deal with at any skill level. Old Psi Ghost was. AA sniper is. Don't make it easy to beat, but a little easier so the lower skill players can at least figure out what to do without banging their heads into a wall, and force the AA sniper player to do something more active than just sit in one spot all day long. And if another combo is discovered that's just as devastating, we can reduce it's effectiveness a bit without ruining the equipment it uses for everyone else.

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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_angelfire View Post
    Just so we're clear, noones saying that this should be done instead of fixing bugs and such. To even suggest so is just silly. Compared to the relative time it would take to hunt down, test, adust, and retest for bugs as opposed to a simple 3x Copy-Paste job with maybe a dozen number values adjusted should be child's play. An hour or two of work at best because all the systems are already in place for it.


    That's actually the key point here, noone uses it anymore excpet on Commando, Psi Warrior, and even rarely Machinegunner. Lowering it maybe we could see Ghost Agents or that Ghost Imperator you just mentioned.


    Open Beta. We're pretty much doing it now. Take a week to figure out. (I'd still run stim gunner at those prices, I just get one less sectoid - oh no!). Get a price adjustment out every 2 weeks. It's what they specifically designed the point system for isn't it? It works for Starcraft 2, and it's hell of a lot easier for us (maybe requiring one patch) and none further, so why not? If it proves to be not good for the meta, we have more ability to rectify it. There is no way it could be worse than what we have now, right? You can literally put it back to the exact same values we already have if after a couple months the community decides "no this failed". This whole game has been an "unpredictable" venture from the start!

    I'm not suggesting we get into the nitty gritty of something like Medkit: 25 points for heavy, 50 for Assault, 75 for rookies, 125 for medic, 250 for psi guardian. Just 5 or 6 specific cases which are clearly oversynergistic regardless of skill level. I don't think 3 medkit uses over 1 is really that game breaking or something you can't deal with at any skill level. Old Psi Ghost was. AA sniper is. Don't make it easy to beat, but a little easier so the lower skill players can at least figure out what to do without banging their heads into a wall, and force the AA sniper player to do something more active than just sit in one spot all day long. And if another combo is discovered that's just as devastating, we can reduce it's effectiveness a bit without ruining the equipment it uses for everyone else.
    We aren't playing the same game apparently.

    For one, you think AA deadeye is "something you can't deal with at any skill level" and for two you think that "[t]here is no way it could be worse than what we have right now."

    What you clearly want is for whatever is perceived to be "good" to get nerfed, and I'm strongly against that. There is a lot of variety (at least on the 360) as far as team composition goes. Much of it is bad, sure, as the game is still new, but there's a lot of good viable builds as well. AA deadeye is not one of them, at least not in my opinion. I have yet to take a loss from one and I've played against a good number of them.

  18. #18
    It really doesn't sound like it would be a lot of work to implement this. The results would be an exponential increase in viable unit options built on content that already exists. In my mind the only things more important than implementing this feature would be fixing bugs, adding more maps & tuning the spawn points on existing maps.

    So in other words this is of high value with minimal cost.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by HardAppleCider View Post
    We aren't playing the same game apparently.

    For one, you think AA deadeye is "something you can't deal with at any skill level" and for two you think that "[t]here is no way it could be worse than what we have right now."

    What you clearly want is for whatever is perceived to be "good" to get nerfed, and I'm strongly against that. There is a lot of variety (at least on the 360) as far as team composition goes. Much of it is bad, sure, as the game is still new, but there's a lot of good viable builds as well. AA deadeye is not one of them, at least not in my opinion. I have yet to take a loss from one and I've played against a good number of them.
    Actually just the opposite. AA Deadeye isn't "something that can't be dealt with at any skill level" it's "something that can't be dealt with at EVERY skill level." I never said they were unbeatable at all, so please don't assume.

    There is almost no COMPETITIVE variety at all, and that's what I want to see change. I don't believe AA deadeye is the right choice at all either, but it forms a bottle neck for viable teams because of the lack of skill necessary and relative cost of it. If I had my way, strength wouldn't be nerfed, but everything else would be made cheaper. You can claim all you want that "all nerfing is bad" but that's not conducive to an innovative and skill-based environment (beyond the "skill" of knowing which units are superior). Just look at the results of the last battle royale if you think there's a plethora of variety in competitively viable teams. Every game needs to pull out the "nerf bat" occasionally and it is on the whole a resounding success. Otherwise games like Magic: The Gathering or Dominion or Starcraft would not exist or enjoy the success they have today. What I'm after is to give the nerf bat more options instead of letting it sledgehammer things like ghost armor which never gets used anymore.


    edit: And we also wouldn't need threads like "Dear 2k... please get rid of archangel armor"

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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_angelfire View Post
    Actually just the opposite. AA Deadeye isn't "something that can't be dealt with at any skill level" it's "something that can't be dealt with at EVERY skill level." I never said they were unbeatable at all, so please don't assume.

    There is almost no COMPETITIVE variety at all, and that's what I want to see change. I don't believe AA deadeye is the right choice at all either, but it forms a bottle neck for viable teams because of the lack of skill necessary and relative cost of it. If I had my way, strength wouldn't be nerfed, but everything else would be made cheaper. You can claim all you want that "all nerfing is bad" but that's not conducive to an innovative and skill-based environment (beyond the "skill" of knowing which units are superior). Just look at the results of the last battle royale if you think there's a plethora of variety in competitively viable teams. Every game needs to pull out the "nerf bat" occasionally and it is on the whole a resounding success. Otherwise games like Magic: The Gathering or Dominion or Starcraft would not exist or enjoy the success they have today. What I'm after is to give the nerf bat more options instead of letting it sledgehammer things like ghost armor which never gets used anymore.


    edit: And we also wouldn't need threads like "Dear 2k... please get rid of archangel armor"
    Not all nerfing is bad, but buffs should be considered before nerfs, most of the time.

    This game is very new. Of course early tournament results will seem wonky. Did you know that early SSBM tournaments had Marth in the top 3 and not every player knew how to play MK as a second? In MvC2 people thought Iceman was top tier early on. In MvC3 everybody swore that Sent was broken tier. Tournament scenes will always offer less variety than normal play as people are going to use what they "know" is good. That's the smart thing to do when you're participating in that scene. I can say that outside of the tournament scene there seems to be a lot of builds that do very well and there is a lot of variety.

    I still say that this kind of change would be very difficult to do correctly.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic Rooster View Post
    It really doesn't sound like it would be a lot of work to implement this. The results would be an exponential increase in viable unit options built on content that already exists. In my mind the only things more important than implementing this feature would be fixing bugs, adding more maps & tuning the spawn points on existing maps.

    So in other words this is of high value with minimal cost.
    I disagree. I think that doing this would be very difficult to implement and could very easily break the game if done incorrectly. Sorry for the double post.

    Quote Originally Posted by Atomic Rooster View Post
    It really doesn't sound like it would be a lot of work to implement this. The results would be an exponential increase in viable unit options built on content that already exists. In my mind the only things more important than implementing this would be fixing bugs, adding more maps & tuning the spawn points on existing maps.

    So in other words this is of high value with minimal cost.
    I disagree. I think that doing this would be very difficult to implement and could very easily break the game if done incorrectly.
    Sorry for the double post.

  21. #21
    Quote Originally Posted by HardAppleCider View Post
    I disagree. I think that doing this would be very difficult to implement and could very easily break the game if done incorrectly.
    Sorry for the double post.
    The proposed system itself cannot affect the game at all without being used. Everything you've said against it is about point changes that would apply to any point change under the current system as well. What exactly is it that you fear will happen?

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by delta_angelfire View Post
    The proposed system itself cannot affect the game at all without being used. Everything you've said against it is about point changes that would apply to any point change under the current system as well. What exactly is it that you fear will happen?
    A system like this would typically be used to encourage the use of particular items with particular builds. The OP wants a sort of reverse system that punishes the player for wanting to use class/item combos that have good synergy.

    Either of these mentalities is bad (for this game), and I'm afraid of the "human" factor if such a system were brought in. I'd rather leave it open as it is now. Let the player decide if any particular item is worth putting on a particular class.

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